The Aid Game is about giving charitable aid to developing countries. These countries may suffer the dual challenges of high mortality from hunger and disease, and even higher birthrates, leading to ever greater demands on their natural resources, and more hunger, in a vicious cycle. In the Aid Game, you explore alternative aid packages, to see which kinds of aid work best, and why.

The old saying goes that if you give a man a fish, you feed him for today, and if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for life. Even worse would be to give a man one fish and two more mouths to feed, or to teach him to fish after all the fish are gone. In the Aid Game, you see how your aid package choices affect not only deaths and births, but the population growth rate, and the population's impact on its natural resources.

We teach Environmental Studies at Yale University. Adults are motivated by our subject--we all care about the quality of our environment, the future of our planet. But the demands on an adult's attention are legion. The hope is that, with a "game", we can catch and hold that attention.

Aid Game is the second piece of an online seminar, Mortal Stakes: Populations in the 21st Century. The first piece, Foodweb Kerplunk, is a game about species relationships. Playing as a town councilmember in suburban California, you try to preserve the wildlife in a patch of native chaparral, against the pressures of town growth. Further games and materials will explore other aspects of human population growth, and maintaining species diversity under the onslaught.

What's the Point?

How to Play


Note: This software is in beta test. Its first production use in a course at Yale is slated for April, 2002. If you are using it in the meantime, please contact Ginger Booth with feedback.

Launch Game